Kilmarnock manager Tommy Wright praised Zech Medley for gambling in the opposition penalty box after the defender brushed off an early mistake to earn his side a point.
The 20-year-old central defender was caught in possession deep inside his half seconds before Adrian Sporle gave Dundee United the lead at Rugby Park.
But the on-loan Arsenal player bounced back from a shaky start to deliver a positive display which was capped by his first career goal.
Medley finished at the far post following a 64th-minute corner to end a five-game run without a goal for Killie and seal a 1-1 draw which halted a run of eight consecutive defeats.
Wright said: "Zech has a tendency to want to overplay and I suppose that comes from academy football in England. There are times we just need him to put his foot through the ball.
"But I have been very pleased with him. He is a good defender. He is really good in that system stepping out with the ball, as is Ross Millen on the other side. And we will want to encourage him to do that.
"Like any young player, his decision-making just has to be a little bit better at times, but I have been really pleased with him.
"And I was happy he got in the area he did because it's one thing we have noticed in the games, we haven't covered all areas where we want players to go and attack, and players haven't been communicating on the pitch.
"So it was good that he got in that area and got a good finish for us."
United withstood some long spells of pressure before getting three good chances in the latter stages. Colin Doyle twice saved from Lawrence Shankland and also Marc McNulty.
The draw left them four points adrift of the top six with only Celtic and Aberdeen to play before the split but manager Micky Mellon pointed out he had never talked up the newly-promoted side's top-six aspirations.
"We had to probably come down and win, we don't hide away from that," said Mellon, who lost goalscorer Sporle to the recurrence of a heel injury.
"But we go next week. We never spoke about exactly what we want to achieve. We've never said that so you guys talk top six and all the rest of it.
"We say continuous development of the group and club and hopefully that's what we keep doing.
"We'll speak about what we can get better at and get prepared for a massive game against Celtic and have a go at that."